It’s exceedingly easy to dismiss evangelical cinema as an amateurish, maudlin, pandering, and cynical exercise in preaching to the converted. This is at least in part because it’s generally been the case. But the field isn’t completely identical, even if it might look so from the outside: the Left Behind franchise in and of itself demonstrates that there are a number of forms these appeals can take.More
The entire filmography of Chantal Akerman is a series of breaths, and No Home Movie is among her breathiest.
This is transparently the kind of eye-rolling claim that makes people tune out — why, after all, should anyone watch or listen to a series of breaths?More
You don’t have to be a fan of improv — often referred to as “the Irritating Art”, by me — to enjoy Mike Birbiglia‘s ensemble dramedy. Don’t Think Twice is very much grounded in that world of audience prompts and miming, and very much enthralled with its performative nuances and history, but the film also tells a more basic story about belatedly growing up and growing apart.More
In Casting JonBenet, we revisit a true-crime mystery that captivated the U.S. But we do so obliquely: director Kitty Green is as interested, more interested, in the stories we tell about the stories we tell than anything so mundane as solving a case.More
In the hilarious 2001 stop-motion film Kokoa, we witness a series of wrestling matches featuring, in turn, a toad, a chameleon, a bird, and an iguana — with a crab referee and emceed by a Howard Cosell-like reptile.
Do I even need to go on about why you should watch Kokoa?More
Actor, producer, and now director of The Invisible Vegan Jasmine Leyva doesn’t feel like mincing words.
When asked about why she wanted to make her new documentary-in-progress and how it relates to earlier films like Food, Inc., she responds:
Most of [the] experts are all white males; you don’t even introduce a POC until the 50-minute mark.
Chess is not, shall we say, the most cinematic of games. But Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe gamely tries to resolve this dilemma with compelling characters, a quietly heroic, underdog narrative, and a whole lot of Ugandan sensibilities and imagery. It mostly works.More
When Jonathan Demme died yesterday at the age of 73, the tributes poured out. Not only a prolific and varied filmmaker — a guy who could make an iconic horror movie as easily as the greatest concert film of all time, not to mention studied forays into documentary and slice-of-life realist pictures — but also, by all accounts, a kind, decent human being.More
Twenty three years before Billy Idol crooned its title while disconcertingly staring at music video audiences, Eyes Without A Face was a horror masterpiece.More
Critical responses to American Honey seem to fall into two camps: those who loved its portrait of outsider culture and female empowerment, and those who felt, in the words of my friend and noted critic Charles Bramesco, that it was”just feral white kids ecstatically and unabashedly screaming the N-word over barely listenable trap-rap.”
With all due respect to Charles and his insufferable euphemism — a kowtowingly polite dodge that actually affirms white supremacy — this is a hot take that needs some cooling.More